If salespeople are going to take marketing content and send it to potential prospects, then that content had better provide some value to that prospect.
Specifically, it should respond to key customer pain points.
How you address pain points in your content will vary based on the stage of the buyer’s journey that you’re targeting.
A top-of-funnel post could simply validate that pain and prompt the reader to look for a solution. A bottom-of-funnel post would go through how your product or service specifically solves that pain.
But in either event, it’s important to make sure that addressing customer pain points are a key component of your content strategy. Not only does it improve the relevance of your content, but it turns that content into a tool that salespeople can use in their own efforts:
- The content can “pre-sell” so that leads are primed and ready for a productive conversation when they start to talk to a salesperson.
- The salesperson can use the content to provide something of value as they build a relationship with a potential buyer.
- The content becomes a tool of alignment between marketing and sales, helping to ensure that both teams are using the same messages and working toward the same goals.
Addressing customer pain points can improve the overall effectiveness and value of your content. Here are some steps to make that happen.
1. Identify your customers.
Before you can start writing about customer pain points, you first need to understand who exactly your customers are.
This goes beyond having a list of companies or individuals you work with, but diving into exactly who these people are, their roles, their challenges, and how they’re dealing with the pain they currently face. Here are some ways you can grab that information:
- Listen directly to your customer base by sitting in on sales calls and demos
- Read recorded emails and call notes by taking a deep dive into your CRM
- Remember that your buyer personas provide many important insights into customer problems and pain
- Invest in third-party market research to fill in the gaps and uncover insights your current customer data may not reveal
Once you know who your customers are, you can get a better idea of how to address customer pain points that are relevant to them.
2. Ask open-ended questions.
Just knowing who your customers are isn’t enough. You need to understand the questions they’re specifically asking so you have an idea of the pain they’re trying to relieve.
I mentioned listening on customer calls earlier as a way to gather information on your customers and the questions they’re asking. But here are a few others:
- Do some Google searching
- Listen on social media
- Talk to your customer service and sales teams
- Go to networking events — both in-person and online
The key to asking questions is to keep them open-ended. Don’t assume you know everything about your customers.
Go into your research with an inquisitive mind, and let the information you uncover tell you what you need to know.
3. Understand various types of pain.
Not all pain is the same. Nor does all pain impact customers in the same way. That’s why you need to understand the different types of pain that your customers experience:
- Productivity pain points. What’s keeping your customers from accomplishing more with the time and resources they currently have?
- Financial pain points. What do customers need to either reduce their expenses or improve their return on investment?
- Process pain points. How can your customers become better organized so they can focus their energies on the problems that matter most?
- Personnel pain points. How can each individual person on your customers’ team improve their own knowledge, skill set, and personal productivity to push the organization further?
These are just a few examples — pain points can be as wide-ranging as the people who experience them. So be specific, and find out exactly what’s bothering your customers so you can help to fix the problem.
4. Solve the problems that your customers face.
Clearly once you identify a problem, you can’t leave your customers hanging. So you need to come up with a solution to the pain points you uncover.
This solution should be relevant to your product or service, and the unique expertise you can offer as a business.
I think some confusion can come up at this point, so I want to explain something. I firmly believe that your research should uncover all customer pain points, regardless of how relevant they are to your business.
However, pain points generally fall into three categories:
- Pain points your products or services can solve
- Pain points that a product doesn’t solve, but your expertise can help with
- Pain points that you don’t have the expertise to solve
It’s important to put the customer pain points you uncover into those categories and focus on the first two kinds, prioritizing the first over the second.
You shouldn’t try to solve a problem that you don’t have the expertise to solve. That’s a simple matter of prioritization. But you need to understand all the pain points face so you can empathize with them and contextualize the conversation.
5. When appropriate, sell your product.
While your product isn’t the only way you can help people out, at the end of the day, you’re a business. You need to bring in revenue.
So when it’s appropriate given the context, don’t hesitate to sell your product or service.
Now, I would caution that you take the first half of that sentence into account. You need to consider the context. You need to seriously ask yourself: Is the customer interested in hearing about my product, or do I just feel like I need to put it out there to meet my goals?
If it’s the latter, as tempting as it is and as much as I empathize with that, I’d strongly advise you not to do it. This is especially important in top-of-funnel content offers.
However, if you’re writing a middle- or bottom-of-funnel piece and product makes sense, consider mentioning it. You can always give the salesperson something to elaborate on in their conversations. In fact, your salespeople may appreciate having that hook in there.
The point is always relevance and value. This applies to selling your product as a solution to customer pain points as much as anything else.